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50D- soft ??


SimPick e2
9 545 2 Azerbaijan
23 Feb 2009 12:03PM
After selling my trusty old 350D on eBay last October, my wife finally gave me her blessing to go and get a 50D last Saturday - ohhhhhhh happy days, a camera purchase is a wonderful thing.
I have to say that functionally it's like chalk and cheese compared to my 350D, and a very pleasing upgrade indeed. But I have noticed that the images I have taken since Saturday seem to be a lot softer than I used to get with the 350D, and the overall image quality hasn't blown me away as such. I admit that I have only had time so far to take pics of my Son inside the house, and a rose in a vase, etc.... , so the light wasn't the best. But at the same time it was enough.
With the 350D if I got a slightly soft image, I could always make it look really sharp in PS2. But I can not get it as sharp with the 50D. So I was wondering if these reports of the 50D being "less forgiving" with focusing technique are true. And if so, what needs to be done to overcome this ?

Any thoughts from 50D users ?

I am sure the problem is most likely me and not the camera, but I am interested in opinions of other 50D users.

For your info, I was using a 50mm 1.8 and a 17-40L.

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Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
23 Feb 2009 12:22PM
I think DaveU has the same problem before.
I think it is softer to give less noise. But should take sharpening pretty well, youo just need different settings compared to 350D, I think.
SimPick e2
9 545 2 Azerbaijan
23 Feb 2009 12:33PM
OK. Thanks Cole. Maybe I will PM DaveU and ask him. I also need to get out and use the camera in daylight, and use a tripod to really judge what's going on.
strawman e2
11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2009 12:40PM
It depends is my answer. At 100% you will find the 50D image softer due to the higher resolution etc.But first do you find the images soft when you zoom in to 100% or do you find them soft when printed for example? Also with that many pixels it is not unreasonable to have to run a stronger sharpening on the files.

Also what size are you printing, at A4 or less I would expect no big difference between the two cameras. It is only as you get close to A3 size that the resolution should help.

And finally what processing route are you using. If you are using JPEG, then pop the camera into landscape picture style does it look better. If RAW are you using DPP, or something else. C1 and DPP produce much sharper RAW conversions out of the box than Adobe does for example at default settings.
23 Feb 2009 12:41PM
Well I'm no techie and know not a sausage about CMOS technology, megapixies and gapless microlenses. But when I spend 800 on a new camera I expect it (a) to do all the work for me and (b) to produce better pictures than the camera it replaced. And for a little while after upgrading from 30D to 50D I just could'nt get my images looking as crisp as I was used to from the 30D.

Funny but I'm more than happy with the 50D now, which means that either (a) I've just got used to it or (b) the slightly more aggressive sharpening workflow I'm using is making a difference.

So what do I do different? Well I now do a touch of RAW sharpening in DPP setting it to "5" whereas with the 30D I left sharpening set to default "3". In CS2 I now set USM to amount "140" radius "1.8" (sometimes even a daring 2.0) whereas with the 30D I used amount "140" and radius "1.2".

Well that's my experience anyways .......
SimPick e2
9 545 2 Azerbaijan
23 Feb 2009 12:51PM
Thanks all.

Dave - what picture style are you using, and have you modied the settings, i.e. increased the sharpness in the pic style ?


Quote:But when I spend 800 on a new camera I expect it (a) to do all the work for me and (b) to produce better pictures than the camera it replaced


Exactly. It has been a bit deflating to not see an immediate and noticable difference that makes me think "Wow. Now that's why I just spent hundreds of my hard earned pounds on this".
I'll try to be more aggressive with sharpening in CS2 I guess.

Strawman - I haven't printed anything yet. I don't often print. I haven't tried RAW yet either. Only large JPG. I don't have the Adobe RAW plugin for 50D RAW's.
Henchard e2
9 2.7k 1 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2009 12:53PM

Quote:I am sure the problem is most likely me and not the camera, but I am interested in opinions of other 50D users.



Your experience seems close to the conclusions of the DPR review . I've listed their negative points below. Personally I think that Canon went for too many pixels on such a small sensor which is why I bought a 40D as a second backup camera.

* High ISO performance worse than 40D
* Reduced dynamic range in the shadow areas compared to EOS 40D
* Per-pixel detail not as good as on good 10 or 12 megapixel cameras
* High-end lenses required to get the most out of the camera
* Poor white balance performance under artificial light
* Flash must be up for AF assist lamp (although AF is good even in low light)
* Live view not as accurate as on 40D (framing very slightly off-center, in contrast detect AF mode not possible to magnify right out to the extreme corners)
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2009 12:59PM
I do find that the 50D is more demanding on technique, getting the exposure and focus right in particular.

I find exposing slightly more to the right (on the histogram) compared to the 40D or 350D (both of which I owned before the 50D) helps, as does using the centre focus point.

Switch off Auto Lighting Optimizer as well - I get the impression it softens the image by introducing more noise.

As the others have said, the images will take a fair degree of sharpening and, for ultimate crispness, shoot in RAW.

I found it has taken a while to get the best out of it but the results are well worth the learning curve
SimPick e2
9 545 2 Azerbaijan
23 Feb 2009 1:08PM
I do only have the center focus point activated, as I did with my 350D.
Thanks for the tip of turning off the Lighting Optimizer. I will give that a try, and is exactly the kind of tip I was looking for.

I guess at the moment I am a bit surprised Canon churned this out as it is, but I also hope that in a short while I will start to be as pleased as you and DaveU have become with it. But as DaveU says - when you spend so much, you want to take a few pics and then look at them and know exactly why you spent your money. To be honest, what I am hearing is making me wonder why I didn't buy a 40D instead, and if I should even take it back and ask to swap. For me there should be no further learning curve for a camera at this level. Is there one with the comparable Nikon offerings ? Probably not. I could half accept it if I had just gone and bought a 1ds mkIII, but not a 50D.
23 Feb 2009 1:39PM
I shoot large RAW and don't bother with all the fancy picture styles and stuff. Apart from a little sharpening and maybe tweaking the white balance then i just use DPP to convert from RAW to 16-bit TIFF. All other post-processing I do in CS2.

The major reason that I bought the 50D was the increase from 8MP in the 30D to 15MP on the 50D .... I never get the compositon right in camera so I can crop the 50D images pretty savagely and still have a decent sized image left after my butchery.
SimPick e2
9 545 2 Azerbaijan
23 Feb 2009 1:42PM
I'm a bit of a butcher myself, and that's why I was interested in the 50D's 15MP.
strawman e2
11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2009 1:47PM

Quote:For me there should be no further learning curve for a camera at this level. Is there one with the comparable Nikon offerings ? Probably not.
I think you need to think on what you get with different cameras.

The further up the range you go the more you have to put in to get the best. After all if you want the camera to do it all in Auto then get the entry level cameras that do that. That goes for all the brands.

The canon's in general are set to give you more user control as you go up the range. So if you want JPEG out, and I suggest you want RAW to get the advantage of the 50D, then I suggest you play with the picture styles and turn the sharpness up to 5.

But if its anything like the 40D, then RAW produces a lot more info than the JPEG does, and a lot more detail in shadows, plus you can better control the noise and white balance etc. The 1000D has a very good JPEG output, and I would wonder if JPEG is your thing if that is not the best buy.

As for serious cropping, it is better to frame it correct in camera as the resulting images will be far better. It would be too easy to show lens defects.
strawman e2
11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2009 1:55PM
Oh and remember, if there were no further learning, then there would be no new features or value either.
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2009 2:04PM

Quote:To be honest, what I am hearing is making me wonder why I didn't buy a 40D instead, and if I should even take it back and ask to swap

It did cross my mind that if you really don't need to print your images you may have been better off with the 40D or even the 450D - which is closer to your 350D in handling and produces excellent images straight from the camera. (I played with my son's new 450D a while back and was most impressed)

As to the learning curves - its been my impression for a long time that for ease of use against general picture quality the balance is P&S > Bridge > low end DSLR > high end DSLR.

Its only when you want to push the boundaries in terms of image making that the high end cameras come into their own.
SimPick e2
9 545 2 Azerbaijan
23 Feb 2009 2:08PM
I do shoot RAW too. For casual shots I use JPG and the rest I do RAW. Casual pics are too much ballache to convert.

I'll have a go playing with picture style settings and the way I use USM in CS2, and see what I get.
I am not bothered about putting in effort, but at the same time I don't expect to be having conversations like this about one of the latest cameras. After all, my 350D did a perfectly good job, and there is no reason an upgrade shouldn't be the same or much better.

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